CAIRO (APP) – Polling opened Sunday in Egypt for a much-delayed parliamentary election that will tighten President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s grip on power after he crushed all opposition since ousting his Islamist predecessor.

The vote for the 596-member parliament will be staged in two phases ending on December 2, with Egyptians abroad casting their votes for the first round from Saturday.

But with an absence of opposition parties — including the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood — polling has inspired none of the enthusiasm witnessed for Egypt’s first democratic elections in 2011.

Experts say only voter turnout will be a gauge of popularity for Sisi, who has enjoyed a cult-like status since being elected president last year.

Most of the more than 5,000 candidates in the polls overwhelmingly support Sisi and are expected to dominate parliament.

“This parliament will be a parliament of the president,” said Hazem Hosny, political science professor at Cairo University.

“It’s really a parliament… to keep things as they are, to give an image of democracy.”

Many Egyptians tired of political turmoil since the 2011 ouster of veteran leader Hosni Mubarak support Sisi, who has vowed to revive an ailing economy and restore stability amid a deadly crackdown targeting supporters of his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Morsi.